UK tourists get EU treatment at airports
Portugal is the first country in the UK to defy Brexit rules by treating British holidaymakers the same as EU citizens at its borders.
According to the Telegraph, the Portuguese government has opened its e-gates to Brits “enabling them to be fast-tracked seamlessly without having to queue for hours for manual checks as previously required under Brexit”.
Says the UK newspaper “Britons will no longer be treated as third-country visitors as demanded under Brexit, but will have a special e-gate channel for the three million UK holidaymakers who visit Portugal every year”.
The measure to introduce frictionless travel for UK citizens as though the UK was still in the Schengen area could be “an attempt by Portugal to lure Britons away from the other Southern European tourism destinations popular with UK holidaymakers”.
“The UK is Portugal’s biggest overseas tourist market with nearly 484,000 room nights clocked up by Britons in January and February alone, the highest of any country. The new border policy could force countries such as Spain, France, Greece and Italy to follow suit. British tourists account for a substantial slice of all four EU states’ tourist revenues,” says the newspaper’s home affairs editor Charles Hymas.
However, EU states are free to set their own travel rules and passenger locator forms have been scrapped — albeit travellers are still required to wear masks when they are physically on planes, or taking transport buses to and from terminals.
The President of the Portuguese tourist board, Turismo de Portugal, Luís Araújo says the industry is “delighted” by the new approach.
Portugal’s policy isn’t limited to incoming Britons. It also includes Australian travellers, those from New Zealand, Singapore and Japan, concludes the Telegraph.